UN met with Iranian officials in an attempt to preserve the ability of his inspectors to track Tehran’s nuclear program
The head of the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations met with Iranian officials on Sunday in an attempt to preserve the ability of his inspectors to track Tehran’s nuclear program, even as the authorities said they intended to cut off their surveillance cameras at those sites.
The arrival of Rafael Grossi in Tehran comes as Iran attempts to pressure Europe and the new administration of Biden to return to the nuclear agreement of 2015, which former US President Donald Trump unilaterally removed America from in 2018.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who helped achieve the nuclear agreement under President Hassan Rouhani, said that, despite Grossi’s visit to obey a law passed by parliament, the cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency will be turned off.
This is not a world deadline. In an interview aired during Grossi’s visit, Zarif told the government-run, English-language broadcaster Press TV that this is not an ultimatum. This is an internal domestic question between the government and the parliament.
We’ve got democracy. We are supposed to enforce the regulations of the government. And the law has been introduced by parliament-whether we like it or not.
The comments by Zarif represented the highest degree of acknowledgment yet of what Iran intended to do when it stopped implementing the so-called ‘Additional Protocol,’ a secret agreement concluded as part of the nuclear deal between Tehran and the IAEA. With a range of countries controlled, the IAEA has additional protocols.
“The IAEA “collects and analyzes hundreds of thousands of photographs collected by its sophisticated surveillance cameras every day under the protocol with Iran,” the agency said in 2017. “2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment.”2,000 tamper-proof seals had been installed on nuclear material and equipment.
In his interview, Zarif said that the authorities would be “required by law not to provide the tapes of those cameras.” It was not immediately clear if that also meant that the cameras would be fully switched off, as Zarif called a “technical decision, that’s not a political decision.”
Certainly, Zarif said, the IAEA is not going to get footage from those cameras.
The IAEA, based in Vienna, did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Zarif’s remarks. Last week, the Agency reported that the visit was aimed at seeking ‘a mutually satisfactory solution for the IAEA to continue the country’s critical verification activities.’
Grossi met with Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s civilian nuclear program, earlier on Sunday.
In December, Iran’s parliament adopted a bill that would suspend part of UN inspections of its nuclear facilities unless, by Tuesday, European signatories provide relief from oil and banking sanctions.